Returning to the lanes competitively for the first time in over a month, the #11 Valparaiso bowling team went 2-4 on the first day of the Music City Classic in Nashville, Tenn. and sits in 16th place after the first of three days of action.
The Crusaders got off to a slow start in their first match of the day, contested in four-game baker format, against host and fourth-ranked Vanderbilt, dropping an 820-556 decision. Valpo spotted #10 Sacred Heart 46 pins through two games of the day's second match, but used a 200 in game three to move within 27 pins. But a 190 in game four would not be enough to make up the rest of the deficit, as Sacred Heart took a 750-707 victory.
Taking on Jackson State in their third match of the day, the Crusaders started out hot, posting games of 214 and 216 to take a 37-pin lead through two games. JSU erased 14 pins off the lead in game three, but a closing game of 182 was enough to secure Valpo the 783-749 win. The Crusaders made it a two-match winning streak with a 793-758 victory in their next effort against #12 Adelphi, highlighted by games of 223 and 200.
Valpo would not be able to earn another win in either of the day's final two matches, however. #7 Kutztown took a 77-pin lead after game one and the Crusaders were unable to cut into the deficit, eventually falling 788-680. Then, in the day's finale, Valpo trailed start to finish in a 716-651 loss to #15 St. Francis (N.Y.).
Valparaiso (50-41) returns to the lanes Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. for the middle of the three days of competition.